pita bread recipe with step by step photos – this pita bread made from whole wheat flour, is soft, moist, light and has their trademark pockets.
i was exposed to falafels and pita bread in my childhood and from then onwards, i have always liked them. pita bread stuffed with tahini, hummus, falafel and raw veggies is a snack i look forward to. whether its made by me or by someone else or in a lebanese restaurant. does not matter.
generally i make them a little extra and store, so that i can have them for a couple of days more. the extra pita bread can cut into wedges and then baked till crisp, later to had with dips.
for those who do not know –
pita bread is a middle eastern flat bread that puff up when baked in a hot oven, but collapse as they cool down. the “pocket” in pita bread is created by steam, which puffs up the dough. as the bread cools and flattens, a pocket is left in the middle….. source wikipedia
they are also the easiest bread to make. the first time i had made pita bread, was on the stovetop and i was so thrilled seeing the bread puffing up like phulkas. you will see in the pics below.
then later i started making pita bread in the oven and they would puff up like pooris. a step further 🙂
the recipe of pita bread is adapted from one of my favorite bread book “the bread bible: 300 favorite recipes” by beth hensperger. i can tell you that this is the best recipe for making pita bread.
when you make the pita bread on a griddle or tava or frying pan, they will get brown or black spots. but when you bake them you won’t get any spots. i browned them a little more in the oven as i like my bread to be a little extra browned and baked well.
once you have lots of pita with you, then give wings to your creativity and come up with different sandwich combinations and fillings.
you can even stuff with potato sabzi or chana masala with some onion rings, tomato slices and some mint chutney + tamarind chutney. or make some veg kebab or veg cutlet and add our usual chutneys and serve in so many ways.
i have divided the step by step pictorial of pita bread recipe into 3 parts:
- making the pita dough
- baking method to make pita bread
- stove top method to make pita bread
lets begin to make the awesome pita bread
1: preparing pita bread dough
1: firstly proof the yeast by sprinkling a pinch of sugar in warm water & then adding dry active yeast to it. stir and keep aside for 10 to 15 minutes.
2: in a bowl or pan, add the flour, salt & olive oil.
3: now add warm water.
4: just mix everything with a wooden spoon.
5: the yeast mixture has frothed now.
6: so add the frothy yeast to the wheat flour mixture.
7: knead into a smooth and soft dough. if the dough is a little sticky & moist than no issues. after keeping it for leavening it becomes alright as you will see below in the 9th pic. the dough has to be moist and soft as well as smooth too.
8: apply some olive oil all around over the dough.
9: keep it in the same bowl covered loosely with a kitchen towel for 1 to 1:30 hours or till the dough has risen.
10: this is how the dough looks after 1 hour & 5o minutes…. i kept for a longer time as it was raining heavily this day and the temperature was on the cooler side. see the cracks in spite of it being a little extra moist & sticky dough.
11: deflate the dough gently and if you want then knead lightly.
12: now make medium sized balls from the dough. keep these covered again for 10 minutes.
13: dust some flour and roll each ball into a flat poori shape or rounds exactly the way you make pooris. you can also make them oval shaped if you want. keep the bread a little thick than you would keep for pooris. keep these rounds covered loosely for 10 minutes more.
2: oven method to make pita bread
1: place the rolled bread on a greased baking tray.
2: bake in a preheated oven for 200 degrees C for 7-10 minutes. mine took 7 minutes to cook and 1 minute to brown. please note the 200 degrees celsius is for baking in a convection mode of a microwave oven. if using a regular oven, then preheat as well as bake for 250 degrees celsius/482 fahrenheit. the baking time may vary from oven to oven.
3: look at those puffed up pita bread… don’t they look good?
3: stove top method to make pita bread
1: heat a griddle or tava or a non-stick frying pan. place the bread on the hot griddle and cover it with a lid for 2-3 minutes.
2: the bread will begin to puff up.
3: turn over and cook for 2 to 3 minutes more till the pita bread is done and has brown spots appearing on both sides.
4: alternatively, you could also make them the way we make phulka (chapati). after lightly cooking both sides, place them on the fire and see them puff… cook both sides.
5: stack pita bread and store them in a kitchen towel or bread box. you can also serve pita bread warm. just slice the pita bread into two. you will see the pockets. stuff the pockets with a filling of your choice and your pita sandwich is ready. i added falafel, roasted red bell pepper hummus with some veggies and olives to the pita. you can also serve with plain hummus too.
few more bread recipes
- 3 cups whole wheat flour
- 1.25 cup warm water
- ½ tablespoon active dry yeast
- 1 or 1.5 tablespoon olive oil
- ½ tablespoon salt
- a pinch of sugar
- in a small bowl add 1/2 cup of the warm water. sprinkle a pinch of sugar. then and the yeast and stir.
- keep aside for 10 to 15 minutes at room temperature.
- in a large bowl mix the rest of the warm water with flour, salt and olive oil with a wooden spoon.
- after the yeast has frothed, add the yeast mixture and knead into a soft, smooth dough.
- keep the dough moist and soft as well as smooth and springy.
- place the dough into a greased container or in the same bowl with some olive oil applied all over the dough.
- cover with a kitchen napkin and keep at room temperature for 1 to 1.5 hours.
- preheat the oven to 200 degrees C. once the dough has doubled up, then remove the dough from the bowl.
- put the dough on your working surface & deflate the dough gently. make medium sized balls from the dough.
- dust the working surface with flour and roll each ball into round circles of about 6 inch about 1/4 inch thick.
- cover the circles with the kitchen towel loosely and let them rest at room temperature for 10 minutes.
baking pita bread in the oven
- now place them on a greased tray and bake at 200 degrees Celsius (the 200 degrees celsius is for baking in a convection mode of a microwave oven. if using a regular oven, then preheat as well as bake for 250 degrees Celsius/482 Fahrenheit) for 7 to 10 minutes or till puffed up and light brown.
- bake all the pita bread this way.
making pita bread on stove top
- heat a non-stick frying pan or tava or griddle.
- place the bread on the griddle and cover for 2-3 minutes till the bread starts puffing up.
- flip the bread the other side and cook for more 2 to 3 minutes.
serving pita bread
- stack the pita bread and store them in a kitchen towel or bread box.
- you can also serve pita bread warm.
- just slice the pita bread into two. you will see the pockets.
- stuff the pockets with a filling of your choice and your pita sandwich is ready.
tips for making pita bread
- if the dough becomes too sticky then add some more flour.
- remember to proof the yeast in warm water. less warm water or hot water will not yield good results.
- you can also knead the dough in a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment.
- you can double as well as triple this pita bread recipe.
- like all my bakes, i have baked the pita bread in a microwave oven in the convection/baking mode. since the recipe is lightly adapted, the pita bread should fluff well in a regular oven too if the yeast proofing and leavening of the bread is done well.